feature

On a Mission

When he arrived on vacation in Italy in 2011, Sam Porritt, ’86, was looking forward to a week of wine tasting and exploring Tuscany. But his attempt to photograph the first sunrise from the Tuscan villa where he was staying changed his life. Porritt lost his footing and tumbled off a 15-foot wall after taking the photo with his phone. “I took a step and there was nothing under my foot,” he recalled. The fall injured his spinal cord and paralyzed him from the waist down. After two hours on the ground, he was flown via helicopter to an Italian hospital for emergency surgery. He arrived back in the United States nearly three weeks later. Back home in Kansas City, Kansas, he learned what life was like in a wheelchair. Doctors weren’t sure whether he’d ever walk again. <br/>

conversation

To Your Health

The Challenge: In the early 2000s, a 50 percent failure rate for mental-health-drug trials meant the Food and Drug Administration approved few new treatments for psychiatric diseases, says Amy Fershko Ellis, ’80, who cofounded MedAvante in 2002 to analyze how the pharmaceutical industry tested psychiatric drugs. Her team found the root cause of trial failure was measurement variability and investigator bias in subjective assessments of trial participants. MedAvante created a holistic methodology to improve testing, but the company encountered industry resistance as outsiders looking to change the way clinical trials had long been conducted. The Strategy: Ellis applied universal principles to product development. Because drug trials are conducted in various parts of the country and around the world, companies pay investigators to find, evaluate, and enroll patients. But differences between investigators result in unreliable outcomes. MedAvante, however, proposed a way to control and centralize the evaluation process, using the internet to connect remote clinicians to patients to ask the same questions in the same way and characterize patient responses identically. MedAvante also digitized the process and made it cloud based, so researchers would have instant results. To build credibility, MedAvante enlisted key medical and scientific leaders who believed in their strategy and concept—mostly academics who didn’t have an economic bias. In 2005, MedAvante’s first two trials involved drugs that had previously failed. The new methodology showed significant results demonstrating the drugs worked, and the treatments were approved. Even with those results, industry skepticism of MedAvante’s nontraditional approach meant slow methodology adoption. But by 2009 the psychiatry industry embraced the system, and MedAvante dropped the 50 percent trial failure rate to the low teens. In 2014, MedAvante expanded the platform for use in all medical drug trials, using new technology to enhance data quality for drug developers. New services were quickly adopted beyond psychiatry, especially in studies of Alzheimer’s disease, where the company now holds a leadership position. “We benefited from the halo we had from our success,” Ellis said. The Takeaway: A great strategy can work in all sectors, even if implemented by industry outsiders. If the strategy and results are sound, don’t be discouraged by naysayers.

conversation

Meet the Founders

For entrepreneurs, tapping into a like-minded community can provide that extra push to keep going. That’s precisely the goal of the Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship, or PF3, at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where nine entrepreneurs are spending the year growing existing ventures. PF3, now in its first official run, serves as a yearlong incubator for Chicago-based entrepreneurs, providing everything from funding to coworking spaces to quarterly check-ins. Graduating University of Chicago students, Booth students, and decelerating Booth students can apply for the program. Here’s a look at the newest fellows:<br/>

conversation

The View From Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a metropolis on the move. Walk down its streets and a population of more than 7 million people surrounds you. Many locals spend their commutes consumed by the technology in their hands. It’s a global city that straddles both Asian and Western worlds. It’s also experienced profound growth. Since 1974, Hong Kong has seen an average of 5.3 percent annual growth in its GDP, and tens of millions of tourists visit each year. More than 7,600 skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, many with contemporary architectural designs, paint the city’s skyline, evidence of both cultural and financial advances. Leading high-end consumer brands have opened storefronts in the city, making it a shopping destination for the wealthy. Some 400 alumni call this former British colony home, and they’ll be the first to tell you: Hong Kong’s wealth extends far beyond its finances. <br/>

perspective

The Book of Booth: Roxanne Martino, ’88

Roxanne Martino, ’88, landed her first job in finance after just a quarter and a half in the Evening MBA Program and hasn’t looked back since. The retired president and CEO of Aurora Investment Management and current managing partner of OceanM19 is an inaugural inductee in the InvestHedge Hall of Fame, and the first woman to co-chair the Council on Chicago Booth. You joined Aurora in 1990, just before the hedge fund industry took off globally alongside the rise of the internet. What was it like to be an entrepreneur at that time? It was thrilling. In the early years, we had a “creeping vine” approach to expanding our investor base—one happy investor telling another. That changed once people could search performance metrics online, and could then find us from all over the world. One of our first international clients was from Saudi Arabia. They contacted us after screening on performance data in an online database and requested firm information. We managed their capital for over 15 years. At the same time, hedge fund managers were becoming more global in their approaches. It truly became a global business on both the trading and investment sides, as well as among our clients and investors. How have career prospects changed for women in finance since then? When I went to my first hedge fund investment conference there were only about five women there—we kept in touch and, happily, most of them stayed in the business. While there are more women in finance today than there were then, there still aren’t enough women in leadership positions and on investment committees. To enable more women to attain leadership positions, they must first be hired into investment firms to get the required experience. We must all be vigilant because discrimination is often subtle. When interviewing candidates, make sure that the ratio of women is appropriate and you’re inviting women candidates to the second and third level of interviews. There are very few women CEOs period and even fewer in finance, so I try to make myself available to speak at conferences and women’s groups to assist women in finance in whatever way that I am able to help them.<br/>

perspective

Chairman of the Bordeaux

Stephen Bolger, ’99 (EXP-4), made his name in international management, first in industrial minerals and then in technology. But when Bolger and his wife lost their first child, a decision to align his career with something that had true meaning to him—and the emotional intelligence gained at Booth—led him to pursue his passion for wine in the heart of Bordeaux. While at Booth, Bolger took a class focused on creative thinking, and what he learned there helped guide his career. After working internationally for years, and suffering that tragic loss, Bolger founded VINIV, a Bordeaux-based “experiential” custom-wine-making company that helps clients create not just a personalized product, but a story to tell for the rest of their lives. I will never forget the class I took with professors John P. “Jack” Gould and Harry L. Davis. It was focused on creative thinking and getting a better understanding of “Me, Inc.,” which—when you're a young rabble-rouser—gives you an opportunity to take a step back and think about what motivates you. <br/><br/>

perspective

This is Working for Me: John Dwyer, ’94

In his first year as president of AT&T subsidiary Cricket Wireless, John Dwyer, ’94, has grown its prepaid wireless business in a market clogged with competitors. In the third quarter of 2016, AT&T reported 304,000 prepaid customer additions and 20 percent year-over-year revenue growth driven by momentum at Cricket. Dwyer has been in the wireless—and wired—phone industry since 1993 and credits a course he took at Booth with opening his eyes to the dazzling challenges in new ventures. Joining the wireless industry in its infancy made him a start-up guy in a giant corporation, and always an advocate for clarity: What’s the plan? Who’s accountable? Chicago born and raised, he calls Atlanta home, where he lives with his wife and two children and a rescue mutt, Lucky.

In this issue
feature

Cupid is a Quant

Clayton Rose, ’81, wasn’t necessarily looking for a mate when he enrolled at Booth. But in the back row of Sidney Davidson’s tax class, he found Julianne Rose, ’81, a magna cum laude biology major from Boston College. They quickly discovered one thing in common. “Both of us already had jobs,” Clayton remembered. “We were trying not to get called on.” They postponed dating to concentrate on graduating but quickly met up in New York after starting their financial service careers. He was in shipping finance at JP Morgan, and she worked in health-care finance at Chemical Bank. They recently celebrated their 33rd anniversary.

feature

The Art of Thinking

Amid the daily hustle and bustle of Harper Center’s ground floor atrium, it’s easy to miss the hot-pink neon sign perched on the side of a walkway bridge. Written in Chinese script, the glowing characters twinkle at their radiant companion on the opposite wall—a vibrant, neon-green sign, articulating a saying in Spanish. Though their languages differ, the signs share the same meaning: “Foreigners Everywhere.” Both colorful installations reside in the Rothman Winter Garden, beckoning curious passersby to reflect on their deeper meaning, against the architectural backdrop of a world-class business school. Created by French art collective Claire Fontaine, these works are just two examples of a remarkable, 500-piece contemporary art collection housed at the Charles M. Harper Center.<br/>

feature

A Harper Art Walk

While on the art walk through Harper Center, enjoy Malian photographer Seydou Keita's portraiture series. The series of five silver gelatin prints are just a few of the many portraits Keïta took of the residents of Bamako in the 1940s and '50s, in the years before Mali gained its independence. His subjects wore their finest outfits and posed in front of intricately patterned backgrounds, and would give the pictures out to friends and family. The committee was drawn to the prints' beauty as well as the unique moment in Mali's colonial history that they represent.

perspectives

The Book of Booth: Roxanne Martino, ’88

Roxanne Martino, ’88, landed her first job in finance after just a quarter and a half in the Evening MBA Program and hasn’t looked back since. The retired president and CEO of Aurora Investment Management and current managing partner of OceanM19 is an inaugural inductee in the InvestHedge Hall of Fame, and the first woman to co-chair the Council on Chicago Booth. You joined Aurora in 1990, just before the hedge fund industry took off globally alongside the rise of the internet. What was it like to be an entrepreneur at that time? It was thrilling. In the early years, we had a “creeping vine” approach to expanding our investor base—one happy investor telling another. That changed once people could search performance metrics online, and could then find us from all over the world. One of our first international clients was from Saudi Arabia. They contacted us after screening on performance data in an online database and requested firm information. We managed their capital for over 15 years. At the same time, hedge fund managers were becoming more global in their approaches. It truly became a global business on both the trading and investment sides, as well as among our clients and investors. How have career prospects changed for women in finance since then? When I went to my first hedge fund investment conference there were only about five women there—we kept in touch and, happily, most of them stayed in the business. While there are more women in finance today than there were then, there still aren’t enough women in leadership positions and on investment committees. To enable more women to attain leadership positions, they must first be hired into investment firms to get the required experience. We must all be vigilant because discrimination is often subtle. When interviewing candidates, make sure that the ratio of women is appropriate and you’re inviting women candidates to the second and third level of interviews. There are very few women CEOs period and even fewer in finance, so I try to make myself available to speak at conferences and women’s groups to assist women in finance in whatever way that I am able to help them.<br/>

perspectives

A Workday with Erez Mathan, ’16 (EXP-21)

London-based payments company GoCardless aims to simplify direct debit for small businesses and large enterprises alike, but it’s more than simply a direct-debit venture to COO Erez Mathan, ’16 (EXP-21). “GoCardless allows businesses to get paid on time, improves their cash flow, and allows them to focus on their customers and offer additional services that they weren’t able to offer before,” said Mathan, who moved to London from his native Israel five years ago. “Hopefully, we will grow to a size that we can say that we have impacted many businesses across the world.” That ambition translates into a busy but rewarding workday.

perspectives

Booth 101: Cooking Local

After earning his Executive MBA from Booth in 2011, Daniel Tan, ’11 (AXP-10), decided to take time off to recharge and rediscover his passion before returning to the corporate world. Family and friends advised against it, saying he should leverage his new degree for a promotion and pay raise. But Tan stuck to his plan, and looking back, he has no regrets. “The entire year of slow travel in Latin America and Asia helped me discover so much about myself and the social causes I’m passionate about,” Tan said. “That eventually led me to quit the corporate world and become a social entrepreneur.” During his travels, Tan realized he had reached his limit in visiting temples, museums, and other typical tourist destinations. He yearned for unique local experiences, and started taking cooking classes wherever he could. “It was a good way to get to know a place,” Tan said. “The cooking-class teachers bring you to the markets. You get a crash course on local ingredients. It’s a complete cultural immersion.”<br/>

perspectives

Chairman of the Bordeaux

Stephen Bolger, ’99 (EXP-4), made his name in international management, first in industrial minerals and then in technology. But when Bolger and his wife lost their first child, a decision to align his career with something that had true meaning to him—and the emotional intelligence gained at Booth—led him to pursue his passion for wine in the heart of Bordeaux. While at Booth, Bolger took a class focused on creative thinking, and what he learned there helped guide his career. After working internationally for years, and suffering that tragic loss, Bolger founded VINIV, a Bordeaux-based “experiential” custom-wine-making company that helps clients create not just a personalized product, but a story to tell for the rest of their lives. I will never forget the class I took with professors John P. “Jack” Gould and Harry L. Davis. It was focused on creative thinking and getting a better understanding of “Me, Inc.,” which—when you're a young rabble-rouser—gives you an opportunity to take a step back and think about what motivates you. <br/><br/>

conversations

To Your Health

The Challenge: In the early 2000s, a 50 percent failure rate for mental-health-drug trials meant the Food and Drug Administration approved few new treatments for psychiatric diseases, says Amy Fershko Ellis, ’80, who cofounded MedAvante in 2002 to analyze how the pharmaceutical industry tested psychiatric drugs. Her team found the root cause of trial failure was measurement variability and investigator bias in subjective assessments of trial participants. MedAvante created a holistic methodology to improve testing, but the company encountered industry resistance as outsiders looking to change the way clinical trials had long been conducted. The Strategy: Ellis applied universal principles to product development. Because drug trials are conducted in various parts of the country and around the world, companies pay investigators to find, evaluate, and enroll patients. But differences between investigators result in unreliable outcomes. MedAvante, however, proposed a way to control and centralize the evaluation process, using the internet to connect remote clinicians to patients to ask the same questions in the same way and characterize patient responses identically. MedAvante also digitized the process and made it cloud based, so researchers would have instant results. To build credibility, MedAvante enlisted key medical and scientific leaders who believed in their strategy and concept—mostly academics who didn’t have an economic bias. In 2005, MedAvante’s first two trials involved drugs that had previously failed. The new methodology showed significant results demonstrating the drugs worked, and the treatments were approved. Even with those results, industry skepticism of MedAvante’s nontraditional approach meant slow methodology adoption. But by 2009 the psychiatry industry embraced the system, and MedAvante dropped the 50 percent trial failure rate to the low teens. In 2014, MedAvante expanded the platform for use in all medical drug trials, using new technology to enhance data quality for drug developers. New services were quickly adopted beyond psychiatry, especially in studies of Alzheimer’s disease, where the company now holds a leadership position. “We benefited from the halo we had from our success,” Ellis said. The Takeaway: A great strategy can work in all sectors, even if implemented by industry outsiders. If the strategy and results are sound, don’t be discouraged by naysayers.

conversations

The Real World

When Bernie Ocampo, ’05, first arrived at Booth, there was a seeming lack of real estate focus. After some quick research, he discovered plenty of alumni in the real estate arena. They just needed someone to bring them together. “I spent a year digging around in the database, compiling the most accomplished alumni I could find,” Ocampo said. “After a year, I invited these folks to be advocates or sponsors, with the idea of building a community.” In 2006, Ocampo helped found the Real Estate Alumni Group (REAG), a global network of alumni led by Ocampo and multiple regional co-chairs based in Chicago, New York, and California.

conversations

Meet the Founders

For entrepreneurs, tapping into a like-minded community can provide that extra push to keep going. That’s precisely the goal of the Polsky Founders’ Fund Fellowship, or PF3, at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where nine entrepreneurs are spending the year growing existing ventures. PF3, now in its first official run, serves as a yearlong incubator for Chicago-based entrepreneurs, providing everything from funding to coworking spaces to quarterly check-ins. Graduating University of Chicago students, Booth students, and decelerating Booth students can apply for the program. Here’s a look at the newest fellows:<br/>

conversations

The View From Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a metropolis on the move. Walk down its streets and a population of more than 7 million people surrounds you. Many locals spend their commutes consumed by the technology in their hands. It’s a global city that straddles both Asian and Western worlds. It’s also experienced profound growth. Since 1974, Hong Kong has seen an average of 5.3 percent annual growth in its GDP, and tens of millions of tourists visit each year. More than 7,600 skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, many with contemporary architectural designs, paint the city’s skyline, evidence of both cultural and financial advances. Leading high-end consumer brands have opened storefronts in the city, making it a shopping destination for the wealthy. Some 400 alumni call this former British colony home, and they’ll be the first to tell you: Hong Kong’s wealth extends far beyond its finances. <br/>